So I was reading the press notes for Deadgirl, a gruesome teen horror film coming out on DVD on Tuesday, and I noticed this about the director of photography: “Harris Charalambous was born in South Africa in 1977, and then moved to Cyprus at an early age. It was there that he discovered his passion, photographing the island’s isolated landscape and unique people.”
I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing two other cinematographers with the name Harris, who also hail from the small island of Cyprus. What do they put in the water?
Most notable is Harris Savides, who frequently works with Gus Van Sant (Milk, Elephant) and is now working with Sophia Coppola. In 2007, Savides told me in an interview for a magazine feature, “My parents were both immigrants from Cyprus. I’m first generation American and that makes life great and complicated at the same time. I was an only child in a Greek household. Everybody always worked hard all week and on Sunday the house was filled with people. Everybody helped cook and hung out together, partying.”
“He calls me little Harris and I call him big Harris,” said Harris Zambarloukos, speaking of Savides, in an interview I had with him at the 2008 Thessaloniki Film Festival, where he was enjoying accolades for the international hit, Mamma Mia! His new movie, The Other Man, starring Antonio Banderas, Liam Neeson and Laura Linney, was released in theaters yesterday, and is lensed in his characteristic luscious, artistic style. “I like going home to Cyprus about six times a year when I’m not working,” he said. “I come from the only divided city in the world. I think the forced diaspora gives you a desire to tell stories, but also an introspection. The island is better known for exporting engineers, but the prominent Greek director, Mihalis Kakogiannis (Electra, Zorba the Greek), is a Cypriot.”